DENVER—SkyWest Inc. plans to maintain up to 50% of its fleet as 50-seat regional jets (RJs), projecting sustained demand in markets that cannot support larger aircraft, CEO Chip Childs said.
"We see a tremendous opportunity long-term to have that aircraft serve small communities," Childs told the International Aviation Forecast Conference here. "We have not [parked our smallest RJs], and we likely will not."
SkyWest Inc., which operates SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines—both regional feeders for mainline carriers—had a 583-aircraft fleet as of June 30. More than half—298—were either Bombardier CRJ200s or Embraer ERJ 135/145s.
It plans to end the year with 585 aircraft, continuing a trend of right-sizing its fleet so it is large enough to capitalize on opportunities, but small enough to be somewhat isolated from demand fluctuations.
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